Finding and getting jobs in Amsterdam: full guide for Americans

Gabriela Peratello
24.02.22
7 minute read

In recent years, Amsterdam’s become a hub for both national and international businesses. In fact, on top of the many Dutch brands that call Amsterdam home, the city plays host to quite a few international companies and the number is constantly increasing.

📑 Table of Contents

What are the advantages of working in Amsterdam?

While there are many attractions to working in the Netherlands, one of the most exciting possibilities is a flexible work week. While the standard for Dutch businesses is still the traditional 40 hours, Amsterdam is becoming well known as a place where employers are willing to entertain non-traditional hours, shortened work weeks and remote employment.

The Netherlands is often viewed as one of the best countries for a work/life balance and the overall quality of life. The Netherlands is the most English-proficient non-English speaking country in the world, making it a great city for American expats seeking employment.

How to get a job in Amsterdam

The good news is that there is a great selection of jobs for Americans in Amsterdam. And if you’re wondering how to get a job in the Netherlands, you’ll be pleased to learn that the process is going to be pretty similar to the way you’d find a position here in the US.

The exact steps you’ll take will depend on your profession and level, but will likely include:

  • Understanding visa requirements and availability
  • Looking at demand for your profession, salaries and market trends
  • Making your resume recruiter ready
  • Applying for positions through online ads, recruiters and your personal network

We’ll dive into the key actions needed to get started working in Amsterdam as an American, next.

Find out which type of work visa you’ll need

Working in the Netherlands requires a residence permit and often a work permit as well. Your eligibility for permits depends heavily on your nationality and background.

For example, you aren't required to obtain a residence permit or a work permit to get a job in Amsterdam if you're from the following member nations: European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) or Switzerland.

For US citizens, you’ll need a single permit issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND)¹, which covers both your residence permit and work permit. While the qualifications to obtain a single permit are pretty basic, it’s best to familiarize yourself with what you’ll need.

You can check out information on the steps and qualifications for obtaining your permit, as well as research other types of visas (including the Highly Skilled Migrant program), at the Immigration and Naturalization Services website².

Read further: getting a work visa from the Netherlands

move-and-manage-your-money

Understanding the market: jobs in Amsterdam for foreigners

While there are plenty of Dutch jobs available, some industries are bigger than others in Amsterdam. The Netherlands is quickly becoming known for its tech industry, and has always been an international center for consumer goods.

Amsterdam is also a hub for creative industries, advertising, gaming, fashion, research and life sciences.

Where to go after English speaking jobs in Amsterdam?

If you’re wondering: do people speak English in Amsterdam you’ll be pleased to hear that English is spoken at a very high level throughout the Netherlands.

You can find English speaking jobs with both global and local companies — start your search online using recruitment websites, then once you have a feel for the market, reach out to some specialist recruiters to help your search.

We’ve got some ideas on that coming right up.

Are there tech companies in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is known as a tech hub, with key strengths in life sciences, health and fintech. In fact, 14% of the region's jobs are in the tech industry³.

That makes it a great place to look if you’re interested in a position in a tech firm — many of which are based at Amsterdam’s Science Park.

Can you find startup jobs in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam has its own startup village, and encourages innovative businesses to base themselves in the region. With great local talent and the opportunity to bring in smart people from around the world, Amsterdam is a top destination for startups from all over the globe.

What are common Amsterdam jobs for expats?

Many expats move to Amsterdam to work with one of the large global companies with offices there. You’ve got a good selection to choose from including Tesla, Netflix, Nike, Adidas, Uber, Booking.com, Microsoft, Accenture, PwC and Deloitte.

Finding jobs in Amsterdam for US citizens

Hopefully you’re getting excited about the prospect of living the expat Amsterdam life. Let’s dive into some details about finding a job in Amsterdam as an American.

What should you know as an American working in Amsterdam?

90% of Duch people speak English. That makes Amsterdam a great place to look for work as an expat — but it also makes for a competitive environment, as English speakers from around the world are interested in jobs there. Many of the attractive features of life in Amsterdam — a good work life balance and friendly, relaxed people — make for a fun experience as an American arrival — but be prepared for a culture shock all the same. More on Dutch culture in just a moment.

Are there American companies in Amsterdam?

Yes. In fact, some 30% of all the foreign companies based in Amsterdam are from North America⁴.

Amsterdam is a popular place for global businesses to position their European headquarters, leading to a great range of US based businesses operating here.

4 tips for finding a job in the Netherlands

woman-in-amsterdam-business-district

1. Check out online listings or reach out to a recruiter

If you don’t already have a job lined up for you in Amsterdam, you’ll have to either do some research on your own, or go after a recruiter/agency.

Below you can find some helpful websites to get you started:

Find a jobFind a recruiter or agent
iAmsterdam’s Job Search⁵: includes open positions in many industries, specifically roles for non-Dutch speakers.Undutchables⁶: works exclusively with expats and foreigners, and has extensive expertise in placing candidates in English-speaking jobs.
Amsterdam Jobs Online⁷: is only available in Dutch but was created by the Public Employment Service in the Netherlands, and contains over 70,000 job listings.Aquent⁸: is a trusted US-based recruitment agency with offices in Amsterdam.
Expatica⁹: job listings are largely English-focused if you’re looking for a position that doesn’t require you to speak Dutch.Octagon¹⁰: is a large, international agency with a wide network in the Netherlands.
JobsInAmsterdam¹¹: lists a wide range of open positions across many industries and is geared towards expats.Adams Multilingual Recruitment¹²: specializes in finding jobs for non-Dutch speakers.

And don’t forget that good old LinkedIn can be a helpful asset when finding your dream Amsterdam job.

2. Do some networking

If you can visit Amsterdam before your move, it’s a good idea to attend a few networking events. While the city is full of foreign residents, the job market can still feel like a game of “who you know.” Luckily, there’re lots of job fairs and ways to meet other professionals.

Make sure to watch out for events and job fairs in the area, you can also go after clubs and organizations to join or even professional events — such as networking meetups and gatherings for expats. It might take some effort in the beginning, but it’s definitely worth a try.

Even if you can’t make it to Amsterdam it’s still a good idea to try networking. This can be as simple as joining expat groups on Facebook, finding professional groups on LinkedIn or reaching out to your social networks to see if you have any existing connections in the Amsterdam area.

3. Make sure your CV is up to date

While there are a plethora of jobs available in the Netherlands, it’s important to remember that there is also a large number of candidates gunning for them. If you want to land a role, you need to make sure your CV is up to date, and stands out from the crowd.

Look online for tips on how to write your resume and, if you speak Dutch but want to make sure your resume translation is perfect, it’s worth sending it to a professional translation service to check for mistakes. In case you’re not sure your resume writing or design are strong enough, consider hiring a professional to spruce it up.

Get started on your CV with these free resume templates. 🚀

4. Make a great impression

Once you’ve got a job offer, it’s important to make a great impression at your interview. While most job interviews are similar, it’s important to remember there are some cultural differences in the Netherlands. Some good things to keep in mind are:


  • Be direct. Dutch people tend to speak plainly, so leave the jargon out. The quicker you can get to your point, the better.

  • Don’t be overconfident. Going into your interview you may find you have more experience than many other candidates, or even your interviewer. That’s pretty common in the Netherlands. The Dutch tend to spend 7-17 years on their higher education. It’s likely they were still getting advanced degrees while you were climbing the corporate ladder. While your experience is meaningful, don’t be smug about it. In Amsterdam, having had a lot of jobs isn’t usually an advantage.

  • Know your stuff. As pointed out above, the Dutch are big on studying. They’ll expect you to have done your research on the company and the position. If you’re not able to slip your knowledge about the business in easily, make sure your questions are backed up by personal research, and not things you could easily find out online.

  • Be on time. Of course being on time to an interview is important everywhere, but in the Netherlands timeliness is very serious. Being even a minute late will likely cost you the job.


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Finding a job in Amsterdam as an American won’t necessarily be easy but it’s well worth it for the great experiences on offer.

While it’s a competitive recruitment environment, it’s also a fun place to work, and a perfect place to gain career experience in a new culture.

Use this guide as a starting point to help you find a job in Amsterdam, and look forward to the Amsterdam expat life!


Sources:

  1. IND
  2. IND - Paid employment
  3. iAmsterdam - Business key sectors
  4. iAmsterdam - Business: North America
  5. iAmsterdam - Job search
  6. Undutchables
  7. Werk NL - in Dutch
  8. Aquent
  9. Expatica - NL jobs
  10. Octagon
  11. Jobs in Amsterdam
  12. Adams Recruitment

Sources checked on 02.24.2022


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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